Nicholas Sparks movie ‘The Longest Ride’ to film in Wilmington

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Nicholas Sparks fans, rejoice: the best-selling author’s next film adaptation is slated to film in Hollywood East.

The Longest Ride
Image courtesy nicholassparks.com.

Sparks, whose “Safe Haven” was filmed in Wilmington and Southport in 2012, is adapting “The Longest Ride,” which was recently added to the Wilmington Regional Film Commission website as being in preproduction.

Temple Hill Entertainment, which is producing “The Longest Ride,” confirmed the project Wednesday. The company is led by Wyck Godfrey and Marty Bowen, the production team behind “Safe Haven” whose credits include “The Twilight Saga” films and another Sparks adaptation, “Dear John.”

Details about “The Longest Ride” were not immediately available Wednesday afternoon from Temple Hill or Fox 2000, the studio set to release the film. The Internet Movie Database and other movie sites list an April 2015 release.

Entertainment site Deadline.com reported last year that Fox 2000 had acquired the rights to “The Longest Ride,” which was published last year and is Sparks’ latest book.

The New Bern-based author is known for setting his stories in locations along the North Carolina coast. “Safe Haven,” set in Southport, was filmed on location there in 2012, as well as in Wilmington and locations in between.

Related story: Southport gets first look at ‘Safe Haven’

Other Sparks adaptations that have filmed in the Wilmington area include “A Walk to Remember” and “Nights in Rodanthe,” both of which likewise filmed scenes in Southport, among other locations.

“The Longest Ride” centers on a couple falling in love whose lives converge with a 91-year-old man who hears his late wife speaking to him in the wake of a car crash. A synopsis of the novel on Sparks’ website starts:

Ira Levinson is in trouble. At ninety-one years old, in poor health and alone in the world, he finds himself stranded on an isolated embankment after a car crash. Suffering multiple injuries, he struggles to retain consciousness until a blurry image materializes and comes into focus beside him: his beloved wife Ruth, who passed away nine years ago. Urging him to hang on, she forces him to remain alert by recounting the stories of their lifetime together—how they met, the precious paintings they collected together, the dark days of WWII and its effect on them and their families. Ira knows that Ruth can’t possibly be in the car with him, but he clings to her words and his memories, reliving the sorrows and everyday joys that defined their marriage…”

“The Longest Ride” is the third feature film set to film in Wilmington in 2014. “Max Steel,” based on the Mattel action figure line, is also listed on the film commission’s website as in preproduction, with a five-week shoot set to start April 21. And “The Sin Seer,” a suspense thriller produced by Overflow Entertainment, is set to start filming April 27.

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Jonathan Spiers is a reporter for Port City Daily. He can be reached at (910) 772-6313 or jonathan.s@portcitydaily.com. On Twitter: @jrspiers